North Fayette County Municipal Authority asks help from state officials to resolve DEP fines
The North Fayette County Municipal Authority decided this week to ask state Sen. Richard Kasunic, and state Rep. Deberah Kula, both Democrats representing Fayette County, to assist the authority in resolving $2,500 in fines imposed recently by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
DEP has fined the authority for violating the Pennsylvania Safe Drinking Water Act.
Bob Softcheck, authority manager, received a letter dated Jan. 11 from Paul Vogel, environmental compliance specialist for the state's Bureau of Safe Drinking Water.
In the letter, Vogel notified Softcheck that the authority violated the act and DEP's regulations by constructing and/or operating multiple facilities without the required public water supply permits.
The law provides that DEP may assess a civil penalty of up to $5,000 per day for each separate offense, according to Vogel's letter.
Based on information available to DEP, Vogel stated that the authority is subject to a civil penalty of $2,500.
He indicated that DEP may change the potential penalty after considering “culpability, speed and effectiveness of compliance, diligence, unforeseen circumstances, and other factors brought to the department's attention.”
DEP said the authority may request a meeting to discuss the final assessment for these violations within 15 days.
“If you do not contact us within 15 days, we will proceed to issue a final assessment based on the information available at that time,” Vogel stated in his letter.
In response to Vogel's letter, Softcheck wrote a letter to DEP's Pittsburgh office, requesting a 15-day extension to determine which direction the authority will take on the issue.
“The authority may decide to meet with the DEP to discuss the final assessment or a decision may be made to agree to the consent order,” Softcheck stated in his letter. “If the authority decides to abide by the consent order, the authority would not have enough time to execute a check for the amount stipulated of $2,500 by Jan. 24.”
Authority members agreed to try to schedule a meeting with Kasunic and Kula to see if they could help the authority resolve the violations.
“I think we need to get our state senators and state representatives involved in this issue,” said authority member Phil Mahoney.
Softcheck explained that the violations occurred when permits were not properly executed for two projects in Lower Tyrone Township and Mount Braddock in North Union Township.
“Two different engineering contractors were involved in those projects,” Softcheck said.
Softcheck explained that Widmer Engineering of Connellsville was involved in the Lower Tyrone Township project. Fayette Engineering of Uniontown performed engineering work at Mount Braddock in North Union Township.
DEP also imposed fines on the authority for permit violations at nine booster station projects, dating back as long as 30 years.
“We don't understand why DEP is involving projects that were completed three decades ago,” Softcheck. “The authority needs to find out what's going on.”
Cindy Ekas is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Barefoot toddlers found wandering in Uniontown Hospital lot
- Juvenile accused in Uniontown store burglary
- Covenant Community Ministries unites 4 churches in Western Pa.
- Small Business Saturday events set in Connellsville
- $7K donated to help Bullskin Township boys with rare disease
- HObo Model Railroad Club display back in Connellsville
- Donegal VFW to host Hunters Breakfast on opening day
- RAPTOR program explained in Connellsville
- McCarthy: Family of Incarcerated to meet in Connellsville
- Fayette twins injured as newborns expected to be adopted by foster mother
- Judge rules in favor of Seven Springs Mountain Resort over road closure